What Does the Sound of a HandPan Look Like? - Cymatics - The Science of Visible Sound

If you’ve ever wondered what the sound of a Handpan might look like, if you could see it with your own eyes, you need wonder no more.  Because thanks to the science of “Cymatics” - the study of visible sound, we are able to, in a number of different ways, get a glimpse of the Handpan’s sound, in visual format.

Cymatics, derived from the Greek word meaning “Wave”, as previously mentioned, is the study of “visible sound”.  And thanks to modern technology, and devices like the “Cymascope” - an instrument that makes sound or music visible, we’re now able to take a peak at the beautiful and complex structures of sound waves, in the form of detailed 3D mathematical digital analogs; of the sounds that cause the images to form.

And thanks to Handpan musician, Matthew Calder (one half of Sculpture Music), you can take a look at the Cymascope’s representation of the sound of a Pantheon Steel Halo, in the two videos embedded below...

Don’t happen to have your own Cymascope handy, but would like to experiment with the science of cymatics with your own Handpan?  No problem - go old-school with a little water (be sure to thoroughly dry out your Handpan after), as can be seen in the following two videos from Hangfanuk, and Kabeção, to achieve similar effects…

Water Sound Images: The Creative Music of the Universe

PANArt are known to have collaborated with a number of scientists in the creation of the Hang, from physicists, to metallurgists.  And one online source suggests that not only can the book, Water Sound Images: The Creative Music of the Universe, be found on the bookshelves of the Hanghaus, but also that author,  Alexander Lauterwasser, collaborated with the Hang-makers in some way.  Which seems to be corroborated by page 45 of the book, which is titled, “The instrument slope of PANArt”.  Which presumably features the following image we found elsewhere on the internetz - titled, “The Hang”, by Alexander Lauterwasser...

Fabian Küpper - And the Sonobe-Handpan Dream Trio

HandPan Tube’s most popular offering for April. 2016, was served up by Handpan musician, Fabian Küpper - with the aid of his “Sonobe Dream Trio”, with the video titled, Groovin' Deva.  And with this post we’d like to offer a double-salute, to both maker, and player…

The three Sonobe Handpan that make up Fabian’s “Dream Trio” were made in Japan, by pan-maker, Ryo Sonobe.  A maker we’ve been following since back in 2011. And as an interesting factoid, according to “The Book of PANArt”, Ryo Sonobe was the only Steelpan-maker to take the Hang-makers up on their offer of rawforms/shells, back in the early days of the Hang’s development.

Fabian Küpper describes his Sonobe Handpan:
‘I already played many different top Handpans but my favorite is still Sonobe.
The sound is voluminous, round and warm. Precise tuning and wonderful overtones.’

And the set of three Sononbe Handpan on which he currently performs, were custom made to fit perfectly together.

Fabian Küpper - Trance-ZEN-Dance

We’ve been a fan of Fabian Kupper since back in 2014, when he was offering up some of our favourite Blue Point Steelharp videos.  So it’s great to see that he’s still very much playing, and returns armed with such stunning new weapons in his arsenal.

And with the taster track from Fabian’s upcoming album (going by the name "Trance-ZEN-Dance"), Groovin’ Deva, being last month's most popular, at HPT - we’re very much looking forward to hearing more, as future tracks are unveiled, and the album is released.

‘The new album will contain pure Handpan pieces and polished arrangements with backing of percussion, didgeridoo and kalimba. But also with some spheric, shamanic vocals.’ - Fabian Küpper

And you can find more information on Fabian, and the album-in-the-works: HERE.

How to Make a HandPan MIDI Controller

With the idea of an electronic-Handpan being hugely popular at time of posting, with both the Oval. and the more recently announced, Lumen - having more than reached their funding targets for their individual crowd-funding campaigns - the following video from Al Martino, is one that we suspect our readers might be very interested in seeing.  

And with the Oval having a retail price of around 600 Euro, and the Lumen expected to be priced at around $800, if you can, with a little elbow-grease, knock up something that is (arguably) more-or-less the same, for the price of little more than some foam rubber, and $20 worth of piezoelectric triggers, that is something that will no doubt make for a tempting alternative…

How to Make a HandPan MIDI Controller

Al Martino himself is a musician, and composer from Capri island, Italy.  And he kindly offers his design for all to make use of free-of-charge.  As has been the discussion with both the Oval, and the Lumen, how similar an experience this device will offer, in comparison to playing a true steel made Handpan. is open to debate.  Though if you’re not put off by the idea of a little D.I.Y., Al Martino’s open-source design certainly seems to be an economical way of finding out for yourself, without having to drop too much cash.

In addition to your self-made electronic Handpan, you’ll need some Hang / Handpan samples.  Al Martino makes mention of having put together a virtual Handpan sample library, that can be downloaded for free - though at time of posting we’re unable to find that, so, perhaps do a search over at his website: HERE Or reach out over at YouTube: HERE.  Alternatively, there are usually Handpan sample libraries for sale over at eBay: HERE.  And Soniccouture offer a “Pan drums” library for sale: HERE.

And you can hear more of Al Martino's "Trigalpan" below...

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